What does Mark 12:4 mean?
ESV: Again he sent to them another servant, and they struck him on the head and treated him shamefully.
NIV: Then he sent another servant to them; they struck this man on the head and treated him shamefully.
NASB: And again he sent them another slave, and they wounded him in the head, and treated him shamefully.
CSB: Again he sent another servant to them, and they hit him on the head and treated him shamefully.
NLT: The owner then sent another servant, but they insulted him and beat him over the head.
KJV: And again he sent unto them another servant; and at him they cast stones, and wounded him in the head, and sent him away shamefully handled.
Verse Commentary:
Jesus is using a story to compare the Jewish religious and civil leaders to rebellious farm tenants and the Old Testament prophets to the vineyard owner's servants. Like many of Israel's kings, the religious and civil leaders of Jesus' day forget that God is the true leader of their nation.

Being a prophet was a dangerous job. In the course of their duties, Zechariah was stoned (2 Chronicles 24:20–22) and Uriah was struck by a sword (Jeremiah 26:20–23). Daniel, of course, was thrown into a lions' den (Daniel 6), and Jonah was commanded to preach repentance to the vile, violent Ninevites (Jonah 1:1–2). When Jesus speaks the words recorded here, John the Baptist has been beheaded, and Jesus is days from the crucifixion. Unlike the servants in the allegory, some prophets did bring the fruit of people's hearts to their Master, but they payed dearly for it.

"Shamefully" is from the Greek root word atimazō, meaning "to treat contemptuously, to dishonor." It is also used to describe the treatment the high priest and the Sadducees give the apostles (Acts 5:17–42). The apostles are released after a mock trial, but as they leave, they have an interesting reaction. They praise God that "they were counted worthy to suffer dishonor" for Christ (Acts 5:41).

In the modern day, believers often demand others respect our "rights" as Christians. That's not a bad thing to do, at all (Acts 22:25–29). But we less frequently stop to praise God for what persecution proves: that we are following Him diligently enough to draw the attention of an evil world. Paul tells Timothy, "Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted" (2 Timothy 3:12). When life within a godless, secular culture is easy, uncontroversial, and serene, we should at least question how much the world sees God in us.
Verse Context:
Mark 12:1–12 takes place days before the crucifixion, while Jesus is in the temple courtyard, teaching. Chief priests, elders, and scribes—representatives of the Sanhedrin—have demanded to know the source of Jesus' authority to cleanse the Temple (Mark 11:27–28, 15–19). After exposing their hypocrisy, Jesus tells at least three additional stories that show how God will replace falsely-pious religious leaders with sinners who truly follow Him (Matthew 21:28—22:14). The second of these three stories is recorded here, in Matthew 21:33–46, and in Luke 20:9–19.
Chapter Summary:
This chapter contains lessons taught by Jesus in various circumstances. He explains the eventual destruction of traditional Judaism, the relationship between secular and sacred obligations, the nature of the resurrection, and the most important of God's commandments. Jesus also expounds on Messianic statements in the Old Testament. Jesus also condemns the glory-seeking shallowness of the scribes, and extolls the virtues of sincere, faith-based giving.
Chapter Context:
Days before, Jesus has entered Jerusalem, hailed as a hero by the people (Mark 11:1–11). While teaching in the temple courtyard, Jesus shows superior understanding of Scripture over the chief priests, scribes, and elders (Mark 12:27–33), the Pharisees and Herodians (Mark 12:13), the Sadducees (Mark 12:18), and the scribes again (Mark 12:35, 38). Sadly, even in the instance where a scribe does understand Scripture, that is no guarantee he will follow it to its logical conclusion: Jesus (Mark 12:28–34). In contrast, a humble widow exemplifies the faithfulness and piety the leaders lack (Mark 12:41–44). Jesus leaves the temple for the last time to teach the disciples on the Mount of Olives (Mark 13). In Mark 14, He prepares for the crucifixion.
Book Summary:
The Gospel of Mark emphasizes both Jesus' servanthood and His role as the promised Messiah: the Son of God. This is done through a concise, action-packed style. Mark provides relatively few details, instead focusing on actions and simple statements. This relates to the Gospel's authorship, which is believed to be based on the memories of the apostle Peter. These include many of Jesus' miracles, in contrast to other Gospels which include many more of Jesus' teachings and parables. Mark also makes frequent mention of Jesus' ministry being misunderstood by others.
Accessed 3/1/2024 10:53:14 PM
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